EU disaster aid to India, Pak, B'desh

The European Union will donate 6 million euro to the natural disaster prone regions of South Asia.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 14:51 IST

The European Union will donate 6 million euro to the natural disaster prone regions of South Asia that includes India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, under a disaster preparedness programme of its humanitarian aid office (ECHO).

The programme would be the third of its kind for the region and it would aim at improving the response capacity of the local population in the region, according to INEP news agency.

Amadeu Altafaj, EU spokesperson for development and humanitarian aid, told reporters here that the aid will help people to prevent and prepare themselves for the catastrophic impacts of natural disasters and offer expert advice on practical issues like building houses in disaster prone regions.

The third ECHO Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) for South Asia is the result of wide-ranging consultations held in April and May 2005 among more than 150 humanitarian aid and disaster preparedness professionals from NGOs, international organisations, local authorities and the scientific community.

As a result, Pakistan has for the first time been included in the action plan for South Asia. As recent events in its Kashmir region and the north of the country have confirmed, the country urgently needs to prepare for future disasters.

DIPECHO will continue to provide support to India and Bangladesh, two countries also frequently hit by natural disasters.

Nepal, a country in the throes of a conflict, is in need of more substantial support. It is victim to disasters all year round and lives under constant threat of a major earthquake in the Kathmandu valley, said the commission in a statement.

ECHO first provided disaster assistance to South Asia and South East Asia during the Tsunami disaster in 2004.

"Simple actions can save lives, speed up recovery and reduce the impact of new disasters. We are far from helpless in the face of natural disasters. Disaster preparedness is helping people help themselves," said EU commissioner for humanitarian aid Louis Michel.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 14:51 IST